VisPop 维斯泡泡

horror’s greatest heroes: the 10 best monster-fighters!

Horror doesn’t just have to be about scary monsters and their victims — some of our favorite horror stories include awesome monster-slayers, who are on a mission to wipe out everything slimy or toothy. Here are horror’s 10 greatest heroes… <See the full top ten list here> @ <http://io9.com/>

Great list for us especially since we’re working on Rangda, and we have a great heroine in the same vein as Ripley.

The Tao of Filming in China


By Mark Roberts, 2007

“… I’m currently working on a BBC natural history series in China (Wild China), with the collaboration of CCTV. It’s proving to be a rapid learning curve for both sides, as the Brits have to learn about cultural differences while the Chinese have to learn about natural history filmmaking. The good thing is, CCTV is keen to support BBC as much as possible”.

“In the Far East, Taoist philosophy encourages people to go with the flow, like a river running its course, accepting the way ahead even if it might not be easy. It’s an attitude that I’ve learned to embrace when working in China–tolerance, respect and politeness”.

Wise words from a HK based sound recordist with a long history of working in China. <see the full story here >

And  for more information on the brilliant BBC series Wild China <see here >

 

 

 

 

 

Doing Business in China

 Voilà  It's the moment of truth: Michael Lee sketches out how a complex flow of cash and debt will see his company's massive Nanjing project through to completion.

Packed into a cramped conference room in his company’s modest offices in NanjingChina, Lee’s key managers are at one another’s throats. The more angrily they spit blame at one another for the disastrous, unsalvageable situation the company finds itself in, the more enervated Lee seems to become, until finally he is no more than a slumped statue following the action only with slight movements of his eyes…  <read the full article here>  @  <http://www.inc.com/>

This is a great starter article on the subject.  The whole process of doing business in Asia is fascinating, and from our standpoint a necessity.  There is so much potential with making films in China.  The crews are great, the locations are places for the west that look like they come from another planet.  Creatively the Chinese are committed to making fantastic films for the world audience.  My dealings so far with the Chinese, (shot a film there) have been great.

I’m also reading a great book on the subject that I highly recommend…  The Art of the Deal in China

Anyone has any experiences on the subject, I’d LOVE to start a conversation!

impossible pillars: another natural wonder of the world

 

Seeming to defy the laws of gravity, teetering, spindly mountains tower into the air in a surreal display reminiscent of the floating monoliths in the movie Avatar. This is China’s Zhangjiajie National Forest Park, and its particularly stunning natural beauty can’t be found anywhere else in the world… <see more pics and read the full story here> @ <http://webecoist.com/>

This location is incredible…  We’ll be finding a way to shoot some of Bridge of Birds there for sure!

aliens: mothers, monsters and marines

Aliens: Ellen Ripley (Sigourney Weaver)

James Cameron’s 1986 filmAliens contains a fascinating exploration of the way Western culture has traditionally aligned feminine characteristics onto nature while masculine characteristics have been aligned with civilisation. However, far from the more clear cut representation of this dichotomy that Cameron would later explore inAvatar (2009), where feminine/nature equalled good and masculine/civilisation equalled bad, Aliens has a more complex exploration by presenting two extremes of femininity with masculinity caught in the crossfire in the middle… <read the full article here> @ <http://blog.cinemaautopsy.com/>

WOOOoooooo, love the alien(s)…  Both are classics, and we’re using them as benchmarks for Rangda.  Love the line of “Alien is the best haunted house movie ever.”  Completely sums it up.

visual effects industry bill of rights?

43 of the top 50 films of all time are visual effects driven. Today, visual effects are the “Movie Stars” of studio tentpole pictures – that is, visual effects make contemporary movies box office hits in the same way that big name actors ensured the success of films in the past… <read the full bill of rights here>

I find this read incredibly interesting…  It directly relates to everything we stand for and all the reasons we’ve started up VisPop.

It’s well documented, the state of the union in vfx…  You can read about vfx becoming a commodity here and here.  Hard work, unfair conditions, pressure from clients in an industry with very few buyers, vendors undercutting each other and on and on…  We at VisPop spent many years on the front lines, in all roles on the vfx vendor side.  We fought and scrapped just like everyone else to make ends meet in a low margin ball game.  Sometimes we were successful, sometimes we weren’t… Just like everyone else. But we learned from our mistakes, we implemented processes, we got better, and we eaked out our living.

I like these descriptions of the  vfx industry in the VES’s bill of rights:

  • a central role in today’s feature films
  • visual effects are the “Movie Stars” of studio tentpole pictures
  • Visual effects drive the entertainment marketplace  which entertains billions of people across the globe, and earns billions of net profit dollars each year.

If those aren’t signs of potential I don’t know what are. So the question of the day then becomes, with all this potential where’s the leverage? With all this potential, where is the leverage? Repeat it a third time… With all this potential, where is the leverage. That is the question we asked when we started VisPop! I mean shit, this is the question that made us leave our good jobs in vfx, jump off the ledge, and risk everything we have on a new company.

The vfx industry is the most broadly creative department in filmmaking. When I say the word creative here, I mean true “creativity” – combining technology, problem solving, pragmatism, and heart. Some of the best artists of our age are working on vfx concept art, we have the understanding of storytelling through camera-work in previs, color theory and composition in digital lighting, performance through animation, programmers with PHD’s coding bleeding edge scientific tools… the industry creates ANYTHING imaginable, any scenario, any character – every single day! if we can create anything imaginable, we can tell any story imaginable… that’s a phenomenal concept! BUT if you ask studio filmmakers about vfx, they’ll tell you “oh yeah, they’re the guys with the chrome balls running around on set”. (To be fair, it is extremely hard to credit what you don’t understand, and vfx is a black box that very few outside the industry are able to invest the time needed to truly understand). Soooo, perception (chrome balls) isn’t matching reality (creative filmmakers).

Let’s go back to vfx being creative, techie, problem solving, pragmatic, and having ticker. Guess what folks, that’s a pretty good definition of Innovation. That’s right, we’re incredibly innovative people in an industry driven by innovation. BUT where the hell is our innovation in business models? In negotiations? In being the entrepreneurs of our projects? In management? Where are the industry’s “chrome balls” (this time I’m not talking about the ones on set). Hopefully you see where I’m going here… Where are our Film Producer skills as an industry? We have some very competent, excellent individuals in the industry that would/could/will make excellent feature film producers, but as a whole the industry is too overwhelmed with the business of innovating creativity and technology to be bothered with innovating business.

So, here we are managing %25 to in some cases %50 of a feature film’s budget and we’re not producers on the film??? Sometimes we’re credited as producers, but if %33 percent of the budget is vfx, where is the %33 percent of decision making across all the departments… casting, location, financing, distribution, production?

So what is VisPop doing about all this? We’re broadening our scope in the filmmaking process… we’re teaming with independent filmmakers to push the innovation of the entire filmmaking process. Through that we’ll change the perception of where vfx/spectacle fits into the filmmaking industry, and parlay that into leverage into more filmmaking negotiations. “We’re filmmakers not shot makers.” Scream it from the roofs!

So can a couple of dudes from VisPop make a difference? Can a couple of long-timers from the vfx industry change the way films are financed, made, distributed?? Hopefully we can help get things rolling. Hopefully we can get more people from the industry involved in the entire filmmaking process. Hopefully we can start the movement. So just ask yourself: “With all this potential, where is the leverage?”

Next time I’ll write about the difference between what VisPop is doing about it, and the many salvation cries throughout the industry of “create your own content”.

platt: bigfoot boom in banff?

Bigfoot

That’s the assertion of a dedicated bigfoot research organization based near Calgary, which claims not only to have video and photo evidence of the mythical beast, but DNA proof as well… <read the full story here> @ <http://www.calgarysun.com/>

Meteorites delivered gold to Earth

Meteorite impacts
A burst of meteorite impacts around 3.9 billion years ago delivered precious metals to Earth.
Scientists have shown that the Earth’s surface became enriched with precious metals by impacting meteorites. The Earth’s crust and mantle has considerably more gold than expected from favoured models of planetary formation. <see the full story here>

american diplomatic memo outlined rules for yeti hunting in nepal

On December 10, 1959, Ernest Fisk of the American embassy in Kathmandu delineated the Nepalese government’s regulations on any mountaineer’s interactions with the yeti… <read the full post here> @ <http://io9.com/>

Nothing like good ol’ 50’s conspiracy…  Everyone loves sasquatch!

the all-time scariest moments from found footage horror movies

Yet another found footage movie, Apollo 18, hits theaters tomorrow. The found footage genre has become a mainstay of horror, with its flickering video and shaky cameras...  <see the videos here> @ <http://io9.com/>

Couldn’t resist putting this great top ten list up in the name of us working on Rangda.